The Meyer Lemons History – Sweetest Lemon
Lemons should be included on the list of the most nutrient-dense foods to eat since they are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, zinc, and other nutrients. However, because they are so acidic, most individuals can only tolerate a small amount of the juice and zest. But because Meyer lemons are so delicious, you may easily consume slices of them in salad. These lemons, which are a cross between a citron, a mandarin, and a pomelo, are originally from China and are planted in pots as an attractive tree. They differ from conventional lemons in size, roundness, and sweetness. How did they travel to the US?
Frank Meyer, the botanist on foot
Frank Meyer emigrated to America from Holland in 1901 in pursuit of a job that would be more exciting than working in an instrument shop. He loved walking and growing plants. When he first arrived in America, he immediately traveled to Mexico, where he traveled the nation while working in nurseries to pay for food and shelter. He walked from Washington, DC, to Mount Vernon, Virginia, and back for an interview with the US Department of Agriculture. 50 miles round way, to be exact.
He was employed by the Department, who then sent him to China to research the crops there and report his results. In 1905, he arrived in Shanghai and started exploring the vast nation while documenting his experiences. Meyer spent eleven years there and experienced robberies, threats, and even bear and tiger attacks. He returned with a huge variety of soybeans, oats, wild pears, and asparagus. One of his discoveries? In his honor, the US gave the name Meyer lemon to a little, delicious lemon. The lemon tree was initially cultivated in California, and it later spread to other citrus states like Texas and Florida.
Frank Meyer’s life came to an unfortunate conclusion. After struggling to adjust to life in China and watching the plight of a post-first Globe War world, he fell into a profound despair. In 1918, Meyer boarded a steamship bound for Shanghai, but somewhere during the night, he fell over boad. A US officer later discovered his body and carried it home. Although the evidence suggests suicide, historians are unsure.
How are Meyer lemons used?
The sweet lemon named after Meyer embodies his contributions to botany. Before lemons were widely embraced by Americans and used in dishes by well-known cooks like Martha Stewart, it took nearly a century. Meyer lemons are often available from December to May and can be utilized in a wide range of cuisines, both savory and sweet. Given that Meyer lemons are already so naturally sweet, candied lemon peel pairs particularly well with them. They also taste great in lemonade for the same reason. The amount of sugar you use to Meyer lemonade can be reduced in half. Additionally, you’ll use less sugar in dishes like mousse, lemon bars, sorbet, and cheesecake made with Meyer lemons.
The lemons are great for savory foods like seafood, chutney, salad dressings, and cocktails when used in place of conventional lemon juice. Basically, if you want additional sweetness, use Meyer lemons in place of normal lemons. Meyer lemons provide every dish the much-needed brightness and springtime freshness because they are readily available all winter.
It wasn’t until chefs like Alice Waters started utilizing the fruit at her restaurant Chez Panisse that its true potential was realized. When Martha Stewart used Meyer lemons in numerous of her dishes in the early 2000s, they became widely popular.
How Do Meyer Lemons Work?
According to popular belief, Meyer lemons are a hybrid of a regular lemon and a mandarin orange. The fruit has a smooth, rich yellow peel and is around the size of a lemon, occasionally being a little smaller. The thin peel can be practically orange when fully developed. You can use the flesh and juice raw or cooked, and they are sweeter than normal lemons. The whole lemon (without the seeds) can be used because it has a thin peel and no thick, bitter pith. Meyer lemons can cost up to twice as much as conventional lemons since they are regarded as a specialty fruit.
Recipes Using Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons can be utilized in a variety of ways, just like regular lemons. Both sweet and savory meals can use the zested or candied peel. The juice can be added to baking or cooking to add color to a meal as well as to produce lemonade and cocktails. Sliced or chopped, the whole fruit can be used in salads, baked goods, or seafood dishes. It can also be used to chutneys or jams.
If using Meyer lemons instead of normal lemons, you might want to change the recipe’s sugar proportions.
Before using the lemons, wash and dry them. With a Microplane grater or a sharp knife or peeler, you can carefully grate or peel the zest to use. Since Meyer lemon peel is much thinner than conventional lemon peel, it must be removed with great care to prevent puncturing the fruit. The fruit can be sliced and used in baking or savory recipes, diced and used in chutneys or salads, or cut in half and juiced.
Meyer lemons can commonly be substituted for lemons to produce a sweeter outcome or for oranges to produce a tarter dish.
What Flavor Do Meyer Lemons Have?
Meyer lemons have a flavor that is similar to regular lemons but sweeter and more floral. They lack the harsh taste and bitterness of a conventional lemon and have a milder amount of acidity and a thin skin. A sour lemon and a juicy orange may come through in the flavor. They smell spicy and lemony when fully mature.
Purchase Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons are less common than normal lemons. They don’t travel as well and are more widely available in citrus-growing areas because of their thin skin. Meyer lemons are still available in select specialty and organic markets, particularly in the winter, and you can occasionally buy them directly from the producer online. They are commonly offered in 1-10 pound bags, loose per pound, or per lemon. From December to May, look for fresh Meyer lemons.
Purchase fruit that is hefty, firm, brightly colored, smooth, and devoid of any soft or dark areas.
Due to their glossy, dark green leaves and vivid yellow fruit, Meyer lemon trees are common ornamental and indoor gardening plants. Although they can be grown in pots and overwintered indoors in cooler areas, they fare best in warm climates.
How to Keep Meyer Lemons Fresh
Fresh Meyer lemons should be kept in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer in a sealed plastic bag for the best results. They can last up to a week depending on how fresh they are. For a few days if kept at room temperature, lemons will remain in good condition.
The juice can be frozen in an ice cube tray and kept for up to six months in a freezer-safe bag or container. Meyer lemons can be kept for up to a year, candied peels for up to six months. The cooked jam or chutney can stay for up to three weeks in the refrigerator or six months if properly stored.
Lemons: Meyer vs. Regular
Compared to conventional lemons, Meyer lemons taste sweeter and have a softer acidic bite. At the market, you can distinguish them by their form and peel. Regular lemons are most frequently found in the Eureka and Lisbon kinds, and they are typically rectangular, light or bright yellow, and have a thick, rough skin. The peel of a Meyer lemon is thin, silky, and vivid orange-yellow. Because fresh Meyer lemons are more difficult to find, they frequently have well-defined labels to set them apart from conventional lemons.
You want a Meyer lemon with bright yellow coloring; avoid any that are green. Additionally, you don’t want any spots or excessive bumps. The ideal skin is smooth. They can be kept in the refrigerator, but because to their thin skin, they only keep for about two weeks. Be gentle when zesting because the thin skin can be difficult. If you are unsure of how to modify the sugar while baking with Meyer lemons, cutting it down by simply 14 cups shouldn’t have an impact on the composition of the dish. Additionally, it makes the lemon flavor more noticeable.
Compared to conventional lemons, Meyer lemons have a richer citrus fruit flavor. Did you know that one of the most nutrient-dense meals to consume is a fruit with a flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of chocolate?